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Gospel Reader

A Clean Break With the Past

338

Fangfang

All of us in my family believe in the Lord Jesus, and while I’m just an ordinary believer my father is one of the church’s co-workers. In February 2004, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, and soon after I preached the gospel of the kingdom to my youngest sister. I originally was going to bear witness to God’s work of the last days for my father by equipping myself with some of God’s words and truths. But to my surprise, when my father heard that I’d accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days he went into a frenzy trying to disrupt and prevent my doing so.

when my father heard that I’d accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days he went into a frenzy trying to disrupt

One evening, my father came over to my house in a huff and said to me: “I would never have believed that you would ignore my advice and the advice of the church leadership and start believing in Eastern Lightning! You better hurry up and go to the leader’s place and repent. Ask the Lord to absolve you of your sins.” I replied: “Dad, I’ve read a lot of Almighty God’s words and I really believe that they are the voice of God. Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, and I’m sure of my faith. The Age of Grace is already over, and now we are in the Age of Kingdom. God has come to do new work and to take us to the wedding feast of the Lamb. Doesn’t it say, ‘These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes’ (Revelation 14:4) in the Bible? In believing in Almighty God I’m following the footsteps of the Lamb….” But no matter what I said my father wasn’t interested in hearing any of it and insisted on taking me to see one of the church leaders. My husband also joined him in putting pressure on me. The look on my father’s face told me that he was thoroughly determined to bring me back into my original denomination. When I realized that emotions were running high, and the situation could get ugly, I couldn’t help but get a bit nervous. So I said a silent prayer to God and asked for protection and guidance. Things turned out as I’d expected: Without letting me say another thing, my father forced me into our car and my husband drove us all to the meeting place of our church. When I entered the building and saw 60 or 70 people waiting there—including my youngest sister, who had been taken there by her mother-in-law—I realized that they were all in cahoots and were going to gang up on the two of us. Everyone in the room was looking at my sister and I strangely, and some of them were pointing at us and whispering to each other. One of the church’s senior leaders walked over to us quickly and immediately began urging us to stop believing in Almighty God. Then he started to condemn and blaspheme God’s work of the last days without the slightest of misgivings. He even told a whole bunch of rumors, such as: “People who join Eastern Lightning never get out, or if they do escape they get their nose cut off and their eyes gouged out….” These falsehoods, and the leader’s encouragement, made my father and my sister’s mother-in-law even more annoyed and agitated, and they made us close our eyes while the leader said a prayer for us. I was very much opposed to what they were doing, and we didn’t say anything when the leader was praying for us. But the rumors the leader spread had already left a deep impression on me.

I couldn’t feel God’s presence at all

On getting home, I could still hear those terrible rumors ringing in my ears and disturbing my peace of mind. I couldn’t even concentrate on God’s words. I thought about how I’d already been in contact with Sister Zhang of The Church of Almighty God for some time and how she was always decent and upstanding in speech and behavior. Sister Zhang also showed a lot of love in the way she fellowshiped with us, and was nothing like what the church leader had described. But even more crucial was that the words of Almighty God were the truth, and were full of authority and power. They were not things that any human being could express and so were probably the voice of God. So why were there so many scary rumors surrounding The Church of Almighty God? And so all night I tossed around in bed, unable to sleep as I thought first about the positive side of Almighty God and then the negative side, over and over again. The next day I felt dozy and listless—and troubled in a way that was hard to express—and I didn’t feel like doing anything. My youngest sister came over, and it soon became clear that she’d been unable to stand up to the attacks of the leader and her mother-in-law and had given up on believing in Almighty God and was now urging me to do the same. I said to her impatiently: “Sis, I know that you’re worried, and I’m also very confused and upset. But I’ve pondered over this problem a lot, and also prayed to the Lord for guidance, and so no matter what the leaders say there is one thing that we can be certain of and that is that the words of Almighty God could never be said by a human being. I am certain that these words are the voice of God. I’ve read The Scroll Opened by the Lamb many times, and this book unveils the mysteries of God’s six-thousand-year management plan. Reading the book taught me that God’s work of saving mankind is being done in 3 stages, and that the work of judgment with words of the last days is the work of thoroughly saving people. Only the work of judgment is able to make us truly shake off the shackles of our sinful nature and attain purification so that we may be raised up into the kingdom of heaven. The content of the book totally accords with the Lord’s prophecies in the Bible and also reveals many truths that are not in the Bible. Only God could know these truths and mysteries. So that’s why I’m so sure that the words of Almighty God are the voice of God and that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus that we’ve been looking forward to! Sis, our faith isn’t wrong. Whatever you do, don’t give up on the true way so easily!” After my youngest sister left, I felt very sad and thought: “Almighty God is obviously the returned Lord Jesus. It’s just so true and right. So why won’t the church leaders and our family let us believe in Him?” Just as I was thinking this my husband’s cell phone rang: It was my father, and he wanted me to go to his home immediately. I knew that my father was going to harass me again, so I said I didn’t want to go, but my husband grabbed me and put me in his car. When I got to the house I saw that my youngest sister and her mother-in-law were already there. On seeing me, my father’s face hardened and he said: “Last night the church leader prayed for atonement for your sins before the Lord Jesus. But neither of you are willing to confess your sins and repent. I’ve called you both here today so that you can say a prayer of total repentance before the Lord. And don’t go believing in Almighty God ever again….” On hearing all this, I became very vexed. I thought to myself: “By accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days I am following the footsteps of the Lamb and welcoming the Lord’s return. Where’s the sin in that? I’m not going to knowingly tell lies and talk nonsense.” Seeing that I wasn’t going to say the prayer of repentance, my father, mother and my sister’s mother-in-law surrounded me and launched a barrage of verbal attacks. They started slandering and blaspheming God, and hypothesizing about all those terrible rumors, in order to force me to “confess and repent.” Having all those rumors flying around my head and my family pressing in close to attack me made me feel short of breath, and I started to feel dizzy and physically weak. I thought to myself: “If they keep abusing me like this every day I won’t be able to make contact with the brothers and sisters nor will I be able to read God’s words properly. I don’t think I’ll be able to go down this particular path of faith in God….” At that moment, my parents and the mother-in-law grabbed hold of me and forced my sister and I to close our eyes and “repent.” Seeing just how aggressively they were behaving made me extremely upset, and I couldn’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes. As I cried I prayed to the Lord: “Lord Jesus, I know that Almighty God is Your return, but at present I don’t have the courage to believe in You. I beg You to forgive me and pardon my sins …” When I got to this point I was sobbing so much that I couldn’t continue, and that’s how the prayer ended. After that, I suddenly felt very weak-minded and lacking in courage, and I couldn’t feel God’s presence at all. I felt very uneasy, and I said to my youngest sister: “Before that prayer of repentance I felt that I still had some strength, but after saying it I felt completely drained, as if the Holy Spirit has left me. Actually, believing in Almighty God is following the Lord and that prayer of repentance is a betrayal of the Lord.”

The struggle in my heart continued after I got home: I had read so many of Almighty God’s words and recognized that they were God’s utterances. I knew that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus and that not accepting that would be betraying God, which would lead not only to me not being saved but also to being condemned by God. But if I insisted on believing in Almighty God then the church leaders and my father would certainly continue harassing me and I’d never get a day of peace from now on. I really thought that I didn’t have the courage to persevere. My heart was a mess, I faced difficulties every way I turned, and I didn’t have a clue what to do. My head was buzzing, and I felt I was close to having a nervous breakdown. I wanted Sister Zhang to come over so that I could return the book to her and rid myself of the suffering that I’d brought into my life.

the receiving end of disruption and pressure from religious leaders and family shows that we are engaged in a spiritual battle

A few days later Sister Zhang came to the salon to lend her support. I was extremely nervous, as I was worried that my husband would see her and tell my father. As a result, I told her all that had happened over the last few days, without pausing for a breath. I then hurriedly took out the book of God’s words that I’d hidden under some boxes of goods and gave it to her. I told her: “Sister, my parents and husband are harassing me, and the leaders and brothers and sisters from my original denomination are hindering me so much that I feel battered and bruised. I can’t take it anymore, so please take this book away with you.” Sister Zhang looked at me, and with great sincerity said: “Sister, we have accepted God’s work of the last days, and so being on the receiving end of disruption and pressure from religious leaders and family shows that we are engaged in a spiritual battle! The Lord Jesus said: ‘Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. … And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household’ (Matthew 10:34, 46). From the Lord’s words we can see that God’s coming to earth to do the work of salvation will inevitably result in a spiritual battle. That’s because people who truly believe in God and love the truth will follow God when they hear God’s utterances. This will inevitably stir up the hatred of all those who hate the truth and resist God. As a result, the two sides—the positive, who belong to God, and the negative, who belong to Satan—will be revealed and each will be put with their own kind. This is God’s almightiness and wisdom! Think back to when the Lord Jesus first started doing His work, a lot of the ordinary Jewish people who heard the Lord Jesus’ utterances and witnessed His great abilities came to believe that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah and so followed Him. But all the Jewish priests and scribes and Pharisees, who saw the common folk moving away from them and toward the Lord Jesus, began to create and disseminate lots of rumors to deceive the common people. They said that the Lord Jesus relied on Beelzebub the king of demons to cast out demons, and that He loved to eat and drink wine. And when the Lord Jesus resurrected they bribed the Roman soldiers with cash to create and spread the rumor that the Lord Jesus’ body was stolen by His disciples. These were some of the ways they tried to prevent people from accepting the Lord Jesus’ salvation. And what happened in the end to all the Jews who believed what their religious leaders were saying and didn’t dare to follow the Lord Jesus? Not only did they lose the Lord’s salvation, they were also punished and cursed by God: Israel disappeared for nearly 2,000 years, and the Jews went into exile all over the world, where many of them were persecuted and killed. This was the terrible retribution that they suffered for crucifying the Lord and thus seriously offending God’s disposition. Today, God has become flesh once again to do His work, and history is now repeating itself. Today’s religious leaders are like the Pharisees of old: They see the reality of God coming to do the work of expressing truths and saving people, but because they don’t like the truth they deny and condemn God’s work of the last days. In order to protect their positions and livelihoods, they create rumors to resist and condemn God and use these rumors to deceive and control people. They even use and incite some unwitting people to put pressure on believers who have accepted the true way and use all manner of crazy methods to disrupt and prevent people from turning to Almighty God, thus ruining these people’s chance of salvation. Sister, we must be able to clearly see that this is a spiritual battle and see through Satan’s evil schemes….” After listening to Sister Zhang’s fellowshiping I had an epiphany: From ancient times until now the true way had always been persecuted and we really were in an ongoing spiritual battle! The leaders of my former denomination were creating rumors and condemning God’s work of the last days—and persecuted me and harassed me to stop me from believing in Almighty God—all because they hated the truth and were enemies of God. The fellowshiping helped me to understand why those things had happened to me, but I was still weak and too afraid to keep the book of God’s words. I knew that my father and the others would come to my house and kick up a fuss if I did, and would make family life difficult for me. Seeing that I was caught between a rock and a hard place, Sister Zhang gave me a phone number and said: “Sister, how about this—I’ll take the book of God’s words home with me and keep it safe for you. Whenever you feel like reading some of it, just call me and I’ll bring it right over.” I agreed, and accompanied Sister Zhang to the door. Just at that moment my husband came running over, and pointing at Sister Zhang shouted: “Take that book and leave, right now. And don’t come back again, otherwise I’ll give you a piece of my mind!” As I watched Sister Zhang walk away into the distance, I felt distressed in a way that was hard to describe.

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